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Hello, I am an Artist/Shop Owner and I need your Help.


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First I would like to introduce myself, My name is Tommy and I own a shop in Ohio. I have been tattooing for roughly 7 years now. I live in a small town with about 11,000 people. I have always been into art. I still have drawings saved that i did when I was 7 years old (35 now) I use to enter small drawing contests as a kid and actually won a few. I was a big comic book collector as a kid and I loved taking a poster board and making it look like one big comic panel. Now in my tattoo work I really enjoy doing color work. Mostly new school, traditional, neo-traditional, comic characters, ect. Want to start getting into more Biomechanical and color portraits. Love doing the bright color bold clean outline look.

Now onto the Help Im in need of. I worked under a guy for a while that had a shop in my town. About 2 years ago he moved out of town and shut his shop down. Which left my town with no tattoo shop. A guy from a few towns over ended up setting up shop in town and asking me to work for him. I declined his offer after looking at his facebook page and seeing his work. It was pretty bad. About a month later I went to the landlord of the old shop that I use to work at and ended up renting the building and opening my own shop. After opening my place and hiring another artist I starting hearing from customers that they had went to the other guys shop and he was bad mouthing me and telling people complete fabricated stories about me. I never said anything back to the guy and stated "Ill just let my work speak for itself" Well its now 2 years later and this guy is still going with it. He gets no business hardly at all, his shop is really small and not clean. He has hired about 6 artists one after the other with not one lasting longer then 3 or so months because of his attitude towards his employees and customers. He continues to try to make up stories about me, my shop, and my employees and spread them around to our community. I have talked to my lawyer (said in my small town no one has ever won a case for slander, so that was a no go) and have had to send the police to his place before for threats. He is now telling people im trying to push Meth out of my shop and I have never even seen Meth in person, Im completely against drugs. Hell I don't even drink alcohol. He just tries to spread rumor after rumor to try and turn people away from by business. My business isnt dong bad but could be doing better. I now employ 2 other artists, myself and an apprentice. One of my concerns is the tattoos the other shop owner is putting on people are horrible, he charges them outrageous prices (because he knows they wont be return customers) and they end up with a really bad tattoo that they paid way to much for and end up having a terrible experience and being turned off of tattooing all together. It gives tattoos coming out of my town a bad name and im afraid people will start associating my shop with this because of it. I have saved a few people from going to him and have had to cover up and rework some of his work for people that actually dont just stop getting work done all together. The other shop owner goes around saying he is a World renowned tattoo artist and He is the only award winning artist in the area (untrue) I have a really good working relationship with the other shops in our surrounding towns and this other shop owner that is giving me problems also does the same (but not to this degree) to all the other shops in our surrounding towns to. He puts down almost every single artist in my area.

What would your advice be in dealing with this guy? I have tried to talk to him and be civil. Didn't work. I have tried going through the courts. Didn't work. The Other shop owner has put my business phone on fake Craigs list adds to tie up my phone, tried to spread lies about me and anyone I hire, He always posts false stories about me or my shop on my towns topix page, he has sent people into my shop and took video and photos while acting like they want to schedule a tattoo, he has messaged my customers and told them untrue things to try to get their business, he drives by my shop daily, he starts shit with my employees. What would you do in my situation??? Now mind you I would rip this guys head off his shoulders but that would just cause more problems and I am a single parent to a 12 year old and cant be going to jail. Also it wouldn't solve anything in the end cause he is the type that would continue to talk shit even after he gets his ass handed to him.

Here is a video of the Shop and Owner that is doing this to me and my employees. You can check out his work here and decide for yourself on the quality of his craft.

So..... How would you handle this situation??????????

Edited by supremo
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Last time I got tattooed my artist was discussing a similar situation with some other tattooers in the shop. This wasn't him it happened to, but someone he knew/knew of:

So a tattooer opens up a shop like almost across the street from the existing shop. Starts trash talking, causing problems, etc., much like you're experiencing. One notable lie that the new tattooer tells about the old is that the older guy has Hep C so people shouldn't get tattooed there. Obviously, old tattooer isn't too pleased about this. His remedy, apparently, was to grab a handful of used needles, walk into new guys shop and stab him with them while he was tattooing a client - "I've got Hep C, do I? Well, now you do too".

The good old days.

I'm not saying you should do this, not at all. You should just keep doing solid work and wait for people to realize the other guy sucks.

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Ultimately, and unfortunately, the best action is to "be the better man" and simply continue your good work and don't get drawn in. It is like a playground bully, who wants to engage, and when you ignore them and don't engage, they quit, because there's nothing in it for them. If you don't respond to anything then he doesn't get anything out of it at all - no adrenalin rush, no response, no anticipation of what your reaction might be (or whatever it is that this person gets out of it!). Imagine how excited he gets when the cops show up to his shop, but there's nothing they can do! He can boast to everyone, hopefully (to him) there are people in the shop that see this happen, and he is vindicated, and it is excitement and brings energy to his life that he'd otherwise not have. He's lovin' it.

Sadly, as a business owner and a citizen you have rights and it isn't fair that this guy can do this kind of crap without being stopped, but, without a particular crime being committed, he can. If you can simply hold on, ignore him, wait him out, your work will speak for itself, as will his, and your silence will speak louder than his shouts.

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